This weekend, I had the pleasure of attending the retirementcelebration of the pastor who had formerly served in my own church.
We stayed for the service on Sunday (party was on Saturday)and we were so richly blessed I can scarcely find the words. The church community was vibrant and unpretentious,loving but not showy, inclusive but expecting of others and, overall, rich withthe Holy Spirit. Finally, the pastor played a role in theservice but, he was only one component of the service. This is the magic ingredient that made thischurch special and is an indicator of the problems facing many churches today.
Since this pastor left our church (some 18 years ago when Iwas just exiting my teenage years), it seems like our church has been wanderingin the desert. There were manycomplaints about the new pastor and the direction that the church wastaking. It seemed as if the congregationwere zombies staring into the eyes of the pastor hoping for some magic words ofdeliverance. For many of you who attendchurch regularly, you may be able to relate to this monotony syndrome. In my life, a strong church is vital to athriving existence. I received a glimpseof that this weekend and it saddened me that it is something that I (and manyothers in our church) have not felt in a long, long time. I was filled with regret that my kids (the oldest of whom is emerging from the teenage years) were not benefactors of the Church. They have not felt the power of Christ that can emerge when brothers & sisters in Christ come together desirous of His presence in full.
Typically, the pastor receives the blame when things are notgoing right in a church but the pastor should not be the orchestra, he shouldbe the conductor! It is the Church whois failing, not the individual pastor. We have even lost the capacity to know how to become involved because ofour complacency and I cannot help but think that God will take blessings awaywhen we have no vision.
The people in my church (and in the Church in general) aredesirous of receiving the Lord but are not taking it to the level of workingfor the Lord. In my estimation, theChurch has settled into a deep funk that needs revival. I saw what the Church ‘should be’ during theservice this weekend. A community ofbelievers who seek only to serve the Lord. No pretense, no hierarchy of authority, just loving God and working forGod.
The question I have for any insightful Christians out thereis: How do we get back to this?